Texas MBB Mailbag: What it takes to beat No. 1 Baylor, dark horse games on remaining schedule, current roster 

Christina Huang, Sports Reporter

Men’s basketball beat writer Christina Huang answers your questions about Texas men’s basketball, from NBA prospects to Jaylon Tyson’s decision to transfer and everything in between.

 

What do you think Texas can do to increase their offensive pace since they have been near the bottom of the NCAA in pace of play? 

I think that speed of play will come with playing more aggressively. From what I have seen, I think a big part of the slow pace is due to the fact that this is essentially a brand new team. These players are going to get more accustomed to playing with each other as the season progresses. I also wonder if this team gets a little too unselfish sometimes. Chris Beard has been really pushing for positionless basketball, where there is not a single player that completely dominates the court. While I do agree with this approach, I question if sometimes players worry that they are doing too much in a game. I think that sometimes it is OK to be a little selfish, especially if it means increasing the pace of play to shake off defenders. 

 

Do you think Dylan Disu will continue to come off the bench, or do you think he will eventually start? 

I can see Dylan Disu becoming a starter in the near future. I think that the Texas staff wants to continue monitoring him for the sake of his own health, but his impact on the court has already been game changing. His height and defensive abilities are irreplaceable to this team, and I wonder if the outcomes of the Gonzaga and Seton Hall games would have been different had Disu been on the court. Texas really could have used Disu to guard Drew Timme back in November, but it’s good to see him on the court now. Disu is a great rim protector and can also score in the double digits as well. He played 22 minutes against Kansas State, so I definitely think there’s a good chance for his responsibilities to be increased. 

 

Who do you feel on the current roster is the most NBA-ready?

Marcus Carr briefly entered his name into the NBA draft after leaving Minnesota, so that is the first name that comes to mind. Even though conference play has just begun, Carr has been playing really well to start off the new year. If he continues to be a big scorer for Texas then I can see him getting more attention from NBA teams. But frankly, teams are already well aware of who he is and what he can do since he entered the draft before. He just needs to continue to play well. Timmy Allen also declared for the NBA draft before deciding to return to college. What I love most about his style of play is his rhythm. Allen always seems to know when exactly to let defenders get in front of him so he can let them pass by and make a bucket. He’s been such a prolific scorer as well, so I can see him getting picked up fairly quickly in the draft. Looking a little further down the line, I think Devin Askew could be a great NBA prospect once he has a fully developed shot. Askew is a great passer already and I think it’s pretty clear that he has a high basketball IQ. He’s only a sophomore and can become a true leader on this team once some of the upperclassmen trickle out, so there’s still plenty of time for him to grow and develop at Texas.

 

What do you think is the dark horse, tough game on the upcoming schedule?

The Big 12 is so stacked in men’s basketball this year that I truly do not believe that there is an “easy” game on the conference schedule. Playing teams such as Baylor and Kansas is expected to be difficult, but teams like Iowa State and Oklahoma are exceeding their preseason expectations. Iowa State is currently 13–1 and got its first conference win since 2020 earlier this week. Oklahoma beat then No. 14 Florida earlier this season in a statement win. Every single team within the Big 12 is ranked within the top 70 of KenPom’s College Basketball Ratings. No other conference has every team in the top 100. The Texas staff is well aware of the talent in this conference, and I believe that the players know to take every game seriously. Texas still has one non-conference game left in the Big 12/SEC challenge, where No. 18 Tennessee will visit the Frank Erwin Center. Even though the beginning of the season was relatively slow with a pretty weak non-conference schedule, the remaining games will not be a walk in the park. 

 

What needs to happen for the team to be ready for Baylor? 

Since Baylor is still one of the only undefeated teams left in college basketball, I am not sure if there is an easy answer to this question. I will say that I am a little surprised that Baylor is doing just as well this season as they were doing last season, simply because they had a decent amount of guys leave for the NBA. I expected them to play well this season, but not nearly as well as a No. 1 team. What Scott Drew has done at Baylor within the last couple of years is truly incredible. In the 2017-2018 season, the Bears ended their season at 19–15. They have clearly made huge improvements within the last couple of seasons and continue to do so. I think Texas needs to continue to make offensive improvements in pace of play and shooting to be more prepared to play the reigning national champion. Texas has one of the best defenses in the country, so having the offense match that level of achievement is going to be a big step toward winning against Baylor and other teams of that caliber. 

 

What do you think led to Jaylon Tyson deciding to transfer?

I was a little shocked when I heard that Jaylon Tyson was entering the transfer portal because it seemed like he had a really solid relationship with Beard. I say this because he followed Beard from Texas Tech to Texas when Beard got his new job in Austin. But at the end of the day, I think it just came down to the amount of playing time he got. He never got to start and was not really playing any meaningful minutes. I cannot speak for Tyson himself, but that’s the most probable cause for his departure. I think that he’s going to be successful wherever he goes and that there are great opportunities in his future. It is also important to remember that college basketball is wired differently than it was twenty years ago. More and more teams are being built with a “win now” mentality, whereas the norm used to be building a program to improve over time. I’m not saying that there are no longer programs that want to get better over a couple of seasons, but that the pace of the game as an entity has increased greatly.